Tuesday, May 3, 2016

This Stage

So this past weekend came with some parenting surprises and challenges. And not in a good way. Man is it humbling to be fully hit with the realization that you DON'T have it all figured out and you have no idea what to do about it. Talk about scary and discouraging. *Deep, heavy sigh.* 

God in His goodness led me to this blog post Friday night... a time in which I'm never reading blog posts or looking for blog posts, and in a way that was totally specific to me and needed by me right then. Mamas of littles, stop right now and read it if you have an extra minute. 

****************************************************

I hope you read it. Because wow. That was definitely written for me (and I'm guessing you too) and I needed that encouragement, confirmation, validation, and reminder big time on Friday night... and again on Saturday and Sunday too. The timing was perfect and evoked all the emotions from this mama.

This stage of life is so much fun and such a joy. I love my boys more than anything and I love experiencing school, sports, holidays, outings, vacations, church, home life, and just the regular old days with them. Sharing in their childhoods is the best. I LOVE us being together and we do less and say no to lots because of our conviction to put family first and spend as much time together as a family of 5 as possible. Being with my family honestly and truly is my very favorite thing.

Staying home almost full time for the past 7 years has been a dream come true for me and something I have never once taken for granted. It's been an answered prayer and a huge, wonderful, amazing blessing for us and our family. I can't even describe the benefits and joys we've experienced because I've been home. I have loved and enjoyed it oh so much. More than words can express.

But, this stage has also come with so many challenges. Endless challenges. Humbling challenges. So. Many. Challenges.

It has come with lots of financial struggles and sacrifices. Most of which we chose to take on so I could be home but which have led to stress on our marriage (and our bank accounts) nonetheless. Plus a whole lot of cutting back, cutting loose, and cutting out. Things have gotten pretty dicey around here before. Like seriously stretched to the max thin. We've been afraid. We've wondered how we could do it but also how we could choose not to do it. It's been so hard each school year to know what we're supposed to do (about me and my teaching degree) and what the very best thing is for our family. Making the decision together for me to stay home as much as possible has been both the BEST and the HARDEST thing we've ever done for our family.

This stage has also brought us more parenting challenges than we ever thought we'd experience. (And our oldest is only 7! Gracious.) Because when those precious babies are born you just can't fathom they would ever make bad choices or be disrespectful or lie to your face or have meltdowns you believe are world record breakers or that they'll ignore you or be unkind or ever do anything "ugly". Ahh but it happens. And you're left with wondering where you went wrong and what happened to your sweet baby. And sometimes you're left with a very real confusion and concern you weren't prepared for. At 7, 4 and 1/2, and 2 our household full of boys is also very much full of parenting challenges, battles of wills, and tears... from parents and kiddos alike. Please Lord let us train them up in the way they should go. 

This stage has come with TONS of responsibility and just stuff to do... taking care of babies, raising boys in the nurture and admonition of Christ, laundry, cleaning house, nap times, bedtimes, bath times, preparing meals, cleaning up crumbs and scrubbing fingerprints, doing homework, doing school projects, changing diapers, breaking up fights, disciplining, training, singing to little boys, reading to little boys, hugging and kissing little boys, yelling at little boys (sad but true), cheering on little boys, chauffeuring little boys, and praying for little boys. I struggle with balance between my children and my marriage, my time with them and away from them, our time at home and our time away, playing with them and having them play independently, etc, etc, etc. On the tough days I feel like I'm not enough... not doing enough, not active enough, not engaging them enough, not spending enough quality time with them, like there's not enough of me to go around. I feel less than adequate as a mom and as a wife.

It's true that this stage is hard. Man is it ever. Which I'm sure every stage and season probably has it's challenges.

But this stage, this in the trenches of motherhood stage with littles and crazy, busy, messy households and tired parents and multitasking and juggling acts and day to day ups and downs, THIS stage is one of the best and sweetest stages we will ever experience. This stage truly is the "good old days". And I'm so thankful God reminded me of that through another's mama's words on Friday night. As hard and challenging as it is, it's just as fun and rewarding and special. It's full of joy and wonder, love and excitement, blessing after blessing. It's the most wonderful thing ever. Not always glamorous (okay pretty much never), not always easy (okay rarely), but oh so wonderful and precious.

This Mother's Day Week I hope you choose joy amid the crazy and really, intentionally enjoy this stage you're in. Things can be so wild around here I forget to stop and pause and enjoy the laughter, fun, and yes even bickering and fighting that goes on almost daily. I forget to appreciate the messes that are evidence of boys playing, having fun, making memories, and experiencing childhood. Things can be so busy around here I forget to savor the practices and games (actually I think I might savor the games because I love them so) and rushing around to make it where we need to be on time. Some days I'm good at pausing and soaking in these moments in time and other days I'm terrible at it. But no matter how hard and challenging and even stressful this stage can be at times, I absolutely LOVE it and recognize these days as the best days.

Being a mama to littles is tough. But it is the biggest blessing. This stage is priceless. Let's enjoy it to the fullest. Happy Mother's Day Week!!!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Favorites: Getting Back to Normal Edition

Whew! We made it to Friday!! Yaaaay!!! This week has been a big, long roller coaster. I had ups and downs with my recovery all week that weren't very fun, but I'm happy to report that I think I'm really close to being fully recovered and back to normal!! Thank you Jesus. I am so grateful for how smoothly the whole process went. It wasn't fun or easy but it also wasn't terrible and miserable. I'm just especially thankful to have it behind me and to hopefully experience very little sinus or throat issues in the future!

Here are my favorites happenings of our week of getting back to normal...

*On Monday Terrell's mom came over bright and early to pick up Layton so I could continue to rest and take it easy while the big boys were at school. Monday turned out to be my toughest day and I was so thankful for the extra help! Layton had a super fun morning with Nana!!

*Garrison's Sunday School lesson continued to bless family members this week. He came home from school with a sweet card for his brothers on Monday afternoon.


*I was able to manage a few card games with my middle man this week despite not feeling so great. He was pretty excited to show me his winning card after beating me in Crazy 8s. =)

*So proud to be Austin's mom and love every minute of watching him play! He may be our team's most hard working and dedicated player!!

*My biggest and my baby eating popcorn and watching Austin play and daddy coach. This season is a busy one but I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

*Layton Selph took his longest nap of the Spring this week! Ha! Baby boy just isn't a long nap taker. Most days we hope for an hour to an hour and a half nap but on Wednesday I had to wake him up after a little over 2 hours! Getting back into the swing of things is exhausting for everybody. =)

*My handsome boys with their fresh new haircuts! 

*Family Game Night this week took on a little twist... it turned into a game of indoor baseball! Garrison and Austin have discovered a fun way to play baseball in the playroom with Terrell that involves keeping score, keeping up with outs, and keeping up with balls and strikes. They are actually playing against Terrell and trying to beat him. Layton and I both enjoyed our front row seat. It was a fun night!


*These 2 raided the dress up box yesterday! They started while I was cleaning up the kitchen after lunch and had the best time playing together until nap time. Austin even had to correct me once when I referred to him as Austin... Don't you mean Batman? Haha!


*So proud to be Garrison's mom and love watching him play! He is a strong little player and just really loves the game. Being a baseball mom is the best!!

*My baby boy loves watching his brothers play... and being right up under mama the whole game too. This isn't the most flattering picture of me but he literally rooted his way into my seat so he was able to be right beside me and the chair barely held us both! Even though he climbs all over me and can become high maintenance during games, I need to remember to enjoy it because before I know it I'll be watching him play. Waaaaahhhh! They grow up soo fast!

*Favorite Not-Pictured Moment: Delicious meals have been delivered to us this week that we have enjoyed so much. I'm finally back to eating *almost* anything I want and I have missed real food and meals big time! Everything has been so good and such a blessing to our family. Our SS class really is the best!!

This weekend is going to be a combination of lazy and busy. Tonight and Sunday should be lazy while tomorrow is pretty jam-packed. We're looking forward to a fun one and I am so especially thankful I should be able to enjoy it all with no pain, soreness, or issues! Happy Friday, Happy Weekend, Happy May!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Spring Break Recap

Well, I am slowly but surely improving and recovering and getting back to normal. I still have a little ways to go, and this 2nd week has definitely seemed a little tougher than the first, but I think I've done great for the most part! So before I forget, I'm going to do a little recap of our Spring Break and the fun the boys were able to have while I was out of it and recovering. =)

The Friday before my surgery Spring Break kicked off for me with a reunion with my Dream Team. It was the BEST. We all taught 2nd grade together years ago and just clicked and worked together so, so well. We supported one another, prayed for one another, laughed together, cried together, wrote lesson plans together, and survived an epic school year together. I am so thankful God brought these ladies into my life and that we can pick up where we left off every single time. It was a great night and a super fun reunion.  

Saturday we decided on a family day since we knew I wouldn't be up for anything over Spring Break. We had a lazy morning at home and then we were off!

We spent the day shopping with the boys and letting them spend gift cards and use Christmas/birthday money and then spent tons of time at Chick-Fil-A. We ate lunch there and let the boys play and then we all had a ice cream before they played some more. We sure do love us some CFA. =)

Family day success!

Saturday night we took Nana and Pops out to eat for Pops' birthday and then came back to our house for cake. When I asked the boys how many candles to put on the cake Garrison decided on 11 for 6 tens and 5 ones to celebrate Pops' 65th birthday! =)

I think these 4 had a pretty fun night!

Sunday morning my little assistant directors helped me prepare the preschool hall for Sunday School and looked super cute while doing so. 

Sunday afternoon was spent soaking up the beautiful weather together and me working to make sure the house was clean and ready for me to be out of commission. 

First morning of Spring Break!!

My mom came to pick up the boys before lunch time on Monday to take them to a nearby state park to play and for a picnic. They had a really fun time and great distraction while I had my surgery. 

AnAn and Piper went too! And Layton couldn't be bothered with a picture. Ha!

My parents fed the boys supper and gave them baths before bringing them home and it was really sweet seeing all my babies so soon after I got home. I was out of it and sore but okay enough to smile and speak and give little hugs. Garrison brought me the sweetest card and they were all concerned but happy to see me. It was a short and sweet, but still special little reunion.


On Tuesday I think I barely got out of bed. I wasn't in pain but just really tired. I slept most of the day and drank lots of water and took pain meds and ate scrambled eggs, yogurt, popsicles, a milkshake, and a little roast beef in mashed potatoes. Tuesday was also the day my beautiful flowers arrived from our Sunday School class. They really brightened my day. So did the other cards and texts I received from friends. It really does mean so much knowing others are thinking about you, praying for you, and wanting to check on you.

Tuesday night my parents fed the boys and took care of bath time for us again, plus brought us supper. My mom sent me this picture telling me they were heading home. I missed them so much but also felt so tired/sleep/woozy/out of it that I really was okay just knowing they were taken care of. I didn't have the energy or alertness to worry about what they were doing or how they were doing. Ha. That's like the polar opposite of my normal mama-self. But it was really a blessing not being able to worry or stress over them while I recovered.

My dad is off on Wednesdays so Granna and Papa took them bowling, shopping, and out to eat on Papa's day off. I think they had a blast. =)

On Thursday the boys got to go out to lunch with AnAn and Piper. 

And by this point I think things had gotten a little wild. Hahaha. Thankfully Granna was able to handle the shenanigans and wildness. Another thing that was nice about last week was the fact that this didn't bother me. I just thought oh goodness and then let it go. Pain meds really are numbing! Ha!

Hanging out in Granna and Papa's bed while Granna made supper one night. #thelife

Terrell had the day off on Friday and got them out of the house for a long stretch that morning and then I was actually able to go see my doctor early Friday afternoon to have my stents removed. Woohoo! She told me on Monday to text her like I would my mom throughout the week with any questions or concerns. (Best doctor ever!) So after a couple of texts from me Friday morning she asked me to go ahead and come in. I felt much better with the stents removed and being able to breathe through my nose for the first time all week! I also decided to stop taking my pain medicine on Friday too. I was just reeeeally ready to feel normal again and I like I could actually have a day not spent in bed. So Friday turned out to be really good. =)

Saturday morning Terrell's parents came and picked up the boys so Terrell could cut grass and do yard work. Even though I was feeling better I still wasn't up for taking care of the boys on my own all morning. 

This is our first Spring in our house and even though the yard/flowers/landscape we inherited here is a lot of work, I'm loving it! And I'm so thankful for my talented yard man! He has our yard and flowers looking beautiful. =)

Saturday afternoon we went to my parents' house for the annual Fish Fry they have each year for my mom's side of the fam. Feeling better and better!

It was a fun afternoon for everybody and I was able to eat and enjoy seeing family and being out of the house. YAY. =)

Sunday Terrell took the boys to church while I stayed home and rested. Sunday was probably my best day. I could tell the pain meds were out of my system and I started feeling better and stronger and like I was just about back to normal. And Garrison brought me home the sweetest little note. In SS they talked about encouraging one another and writing little notes of encouragement to people you love and telling them why you love them. So sweet. 


We spent the afternoon resting for nap time and then outdoors playing. We went to our neighborhood field so the big boys could take batting practice and then we came back home and they played soccer and played on the playground and at one point they brought out all of their superhero gear and fought bad guys while Terrell and I sat and watched. It was the best afternoon.  

Layton took our picture. =)


We wrapped up Spring Break with ice cream on Sunday evening! One of my sweet friend's gave me a get well card with a DQ gift card inside. It was perfect. =)

Spring Break was WAY different this year and I missed most of it, but I'm so thankful for my parents and their extra help throughout the week and for my boys still being able to enjoy the perks of a break. Sleeping late, fun outings, endless play time, and no homework, baseball, or routine to worry about. I think it was probably one of their favorites. =)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Update

I'm here! A little out of it due to pain meds, but here. =)

Not sure if I'll make any sense or not, but I'm going to attempt a quick update. 

Surgery went well. Praise the Lord! We ended up having to be there at noon on Monday and not going back until after 3:00 so the long wait wasn't super fun, but we were home Monday night sometime before 7:00. (I think.) My doctor told Terrell that the left side of my nose was completely closed so I should sleep better and have more energy once I recover. (Yes please!) She also said that my tonsils were ugly and we made the right decision to remove them. I'm so thankful for how smoothly things went and that the surgery was successful with no complications or issues. Having never had surgery before, it was a little scary being rolled back to the O.R. And I'm pretty sure everyone knew how anxious I was about the recovery and what this week would hold for all of us. But I have felt the prayers of so many and we're hanging in there and doing well!

The toughest challenge for me has been getting up and around. I have just been sooo out of it. Woozy, light-headed, weak, going in slow motion, in a daze, unsteady on my feet, etc. For the most part I can get up by myself but if I'm up for too long or try to do too much it makes me feel sick... or I need Terrell to help me get back to bed. So that part has been hard. I wasn't prepared to come home and stay in bed almost all day every day. 

But the good news is that I haven't been in a lot of pain. (Praying this continues!!) I've been uncomfortable, I've been sore, I've hurt a little, but I haven't experienced much true pain. Thank you Jesus! We just cut back on my pain meds yesterday afternoon in an effort to get me more back to normal and mobile so hopefully that doesn't cause a set back for me. I'm doing my best to follow doctor's orders... drinking lots of water, eating popsicles, not lifting or bending, eating as much protein as I can, resting, and even doing my sinus rinse in my nose... even though it's not my favorite. My post-op appointment and stent removal had to be moved to this coming Tuesday, (it was originally supposed to be today) so that was a little disappointing but I really love and trust my doctor, so whatever she says goes. She reminded me on Monday evening as we were texting back and forth with questions that the Great Physician performed my surgery and that it went awesome. That just made my week! God's grace is above and beyond!!

As for my kiddos, well I think they've handled everything pretty well. Unfortunately I've been so out of it I haven't seen them a whole lot. And normally this would really bother me and upset me.... but this week it hasn't because I've been so numb to everything. Plus I think God has just given me a huge peace about it because it was a major source of anxiety for me. I see them in the mornings and evenings and they hug me and sit in my lap and check on me and occasionally I see them mid-day, but that's about it. I haven't been able to talk much so that's sort of challenging for all of us, but seeing me out of bed and being able to hug them or smile or wave has seemed to encourage them. Even Layton. I'm especially proud of how well my baby boy has handled everything.

I can't say enough about all that Terrell and my mom have done. This would have been impossible without them. Both of my parents (and my sister) have taken on extra this week during Spring Break so that I can recover and have peace and quiet and the opportunity to rest and get well. I think the boys have had an amazing week despite things being a little different. They've had tons of fun with Granna and Papa, had some fun outings, and even had some extra time with AnAn and Piper. I'm sure this Spring Break has been one of their favorites!

(I know my in-laws would have done tons to help us out this week too if it weren't my mother-in-law's very last weeks of work before retiring. The timing just turned out bad but we haven't felt neglected by them at all! I know they've felt helpless but we've managed pretty great all week. Terrell's mom actually has the day off on Monday so she's going to be taking care of lots for us on our first day back to school and baseball. We are sooo grateful for the all of the extra and help and support we've received!!) 

And Terrell Selph is just my knight in shining armor. He has been the BEST nurse and care taker ever. I have been so amazed at how amazing he's been. =) He took off Monday and he's off today, but he's been going into work after making sure the boys are settled and taken care of and after giving me my antibiotics in bed. He's done dishes, laundry, baths, bedtime, mealtimes, taken care of things with Bailey, prepared my food, and waited on me hand and foot. He has been wonderful and I'm way more thankful for him than he'll ever know. 

Keep praying for my recovery to be quick and complete! So far, so good!! Have a great weekend and I'll plan to give another update and Spring Break review next week. =)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Favorites: Field Trip Edition!

This week has been kind of crazy. It's been extra busy and filled up with appointments, pre-op, baseball, a field trip, and a routine that's been a little off. We're tired this morning. But so thankful for Friday and our weekend and the boys' Spring Break next week!! 

I didn't take many pictures this week because our routine was off, but I did get to go on a field trip with Garrison Cade and have some extra quality time with my biggest! So here's a quick peek at my faves from the week...

*Watching my boys play baseball is always a favorite! Garrison's team is 2-1 and our #5 is having a great season so far. =)

*Ready for our field trip!! 

*Since Garrison is in school all day and Terrell takes him every morning and coaches his baseball team, it's rare that I have alone time with him. So this field trip was special for both of us. He was sooo excited I could come along with his class and that made the bus ride, wild time with tons of 1st graders, and post-trip exhaustion worth it. =)

*He was also pretty excited about some extra time with his bestie since they're in different classes this year. 

*The feather that was the highlight of the trip. Ha.





*My animal lover enjoyed the field trip and extra time with mama and I'm super thankful my mom was able to keep Austin and Layton so I could go!!

*After getting home from the field trip everybody was tired and out of sorts and to sum it up the afternoon was BAD. I'm talking fighting, crying, meltdowns, all the emotions, all the drama, all the exhaustion BAD. So when this sweet baby finally took a late afternoon nap I soaked in the sweetness and peacefulness big time. 

*So thankful for the best daddy ever to my boys! He sent me this yesterday morning after they'd practiced spelling and vocabulary on the way to school. He really is the best and I'm so thankful for him.

*Austin Selph has become way more independent with play time lately. He's creative and uses his imagination and does great playing by himself or with Layton. I'm so proud of him! He requested I make this picture of his road. And of course baby brother couldn't be left out. =)

 *Layton is into wearing hats lots right now. #overflowingwithcuteness!!

*Austin and I finally got in some writing practice this week and worked on the letters Q and R. Slowly but surely he's learning and improving!

*Speaking of Austin, our #2 had a late game last night and did awesome! I'm so proud of the youngest, smallest member on the team and his passion for the game!! He's competitive and attentive and gives every play and at-bat his all! We came up short last night but our little team played hard and had fun! Especially my baby. =)

*As surgery day gets closer and fears are on the rise, this was so needed this week. God has continued to give me reminders to trust in Him and not be afraid. I'm also reading through lots of verses on fear that have been really helpful and reassuring. (Thanks Brandi!!) 

  

We are looking forward to our weekend! Tonight I have a Dream Team Reunion that I'm super excited about! Our team of 8 2nd grade teachers haven't gotten together in a little over a year so our reunion is going to be a fun one! Saturday we're planning a family day and then celebrating Pops' birthday, and on Sunday I just want to enjoy the day with my guys. Our kick-off to Spring Break should be a good one! Happy Friday, Happy Weekend!!!

*Quick note about my surgery... I'm going in sometime mid-morning on Monday. I haven't been told the official time yet but I would so appreciate your prayers. My recovery time is about 5 days for the septoplasty and a good 10 days at least for the tonsillectomy. Of course I'm most nervous about the recovery, especially where it concerns my family. The big boys have already shed lots of tears over their concern for me and the fact that I won't be able to enjoy Spring Break with them. Layton of course won't really understand what's going on and there's no way we can really prepare him for mama being out of commission for a while and unable to talk and pick him up and be normal for a few days too. So please pray that my recovery is swift and complete and that ALL of us handle it well. That my boys would have peace about the surgery and me as I recover and that I will have peace that they are okay and doing great while I recover. Pray for Terrell and my mom too as they share the load while I recover! I've never had surgery before and obviously have no idea what to expect with this specific surgery so these are uncharted waters for us. Thank you so much for your prayers!! Not sure when I'll be back to blogging, but once I'm up for it I know I'll be anxious to write/journal/blog again! =)